December 16, 2014

a peek at our Christmas decor...

Christmas decor |
I always enjoy seeing what specific decorations make their annual appearance in everyone's homes. Although I've had the duplex pretty much decorated since before Thanksgiving (no regrets!), I recently snapped a few photos to share here. I do dream many-a-dream about how I would decorate a fireplace and mantle, or a beautiful staircase, or a front porch for Christmas, but I'm still grateful for the few simple ways I can brighten up our humble abode.

The good ol' floating shelf is always my favorite part, because it's a centerpiece of our living room. I made the felt trees a couple years ago using felt from here and some foam cones from a local craft store. Cheap and easy and I still love 'em! The "cup of cheer" print is from Show + Tell, and I can't recommend it enough (only $10 for an 8x10, and it is so adorable!). As for a few other details: the deer was purchased on clearance at CVS ages ago, I made the felt leaf garland, and the wooden ampersand was a birthday gift from this shop.

Christmas decor |
Soon after I was married, my mom sent me this beautiful wooden nativity, which she purchased from a local artist at a craft fair. It is not your typical scene, and I absolutely adore it. I like the simplicity of the design, and the fact that it is safe for little hands! Throughout the day, Eisley typically moves the pieces here and there, but it's never one of those, "NO TOUCHY!" moments. (Always a good thing, if you ask me.)

Christmas decor |
It fits perfectly on a blue shelf that is near our dining room table. I'd say this nativity set is pretty close to perfect. I hope Eisley has fond memories of it as she gets older, the same way my sisters and I think of our parents' nativity from our childhood.

Christmas decor |
The older I get, the more emotionally involved I am with the story of Jesus' birth—especially what Mary must have gone though for those 9 months and beyond. (Please don't make me listen to the song "Mary, Did You Know?" unless you don't mind witnessing me openly weep. It's an issue at this point.)

Christmas decor |
Our tree is covered in ornaments old, new and homemade, and I ended up forgetting to get a full photo of it! (It's actually probably for the best, because this $25, 8-year-old Walmart tree is on its last legs…there's a portion of the lights that are actually currently out, and I need to fill them in with replacements.) I always love bringing out the box of ornaments from my childhood, as well as Jay's. And it makes me excited to add on to Eisley's collection each year, too!

We didn't put up a tree last year, since we were out of town for Christmas, so this year it's been a treat for Eisley to help decorate (and re-decorate pretty much every day). She's a good age for this sort of thing, though, so I can trust her not to destroy things. Mostly. (RIP, now-headless Cinderella ornament. I should have known you'd be the first casualty.)

Christmas decor |
My older sister bought me this handmade advent calendar a couple years ago (found here) but I didn't get it out until this year because I never knew where to set it up! I finally took down the photo collage from Eisley's birthday and knew it would be the perfect place for this to hang.

Christmas decor |
The style and simplicity of this advent calendar is definitely up my alley. Super easy, colors that are neutral, and a design that appeals to the crafty-lady in me.

Christmas decor |
I always want to do more with an advent calendar, but I know that most of what I see online gives me stress-hives, which I'm sure is not the point. So, for now, turning over these little circles is about my limit! (We do have another advent calendar on our fridge, with the little windows Eisley opens every day for a new verse in the Christmas story. So, that satisfies that!)

Hello, Sparkle! |
I was able to get an Elf on the Shelf early this year when I found it on sale (and the darn thing is never on sale!). I was super excited to get it out this year, and Eisley has had fun trying to figure out where Sparkle (or Lilly, depending on the day) will be each morning. I'm definitely not one of those moms who does something creative every day, and I'm totally okay with that. It's still a fun tradition, either way.

Christmas books abound! |
And, of course, there is always a stack of Christmas books (old and new!) hanging around on some table or another. I love them so.

What does your home look like for the holidays? Did you post about your own decor? Let me know in the comments, because I'd love to see!

Further reading: A Handmade Holiday

December 12, 2014

a small list of good things...

Well, hello, there! Guess what? I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, contrary to popular belief. I've just been indulging my inner hermit for the past month, staying busy with home-life, holiday prep, and the general craziness of mothering a three-year-old. I had so many posts I had hoped to share in December, but all my good intentions seem to have been lost in the abyss. Ah, well. Come January, I'm sure I'll have plenty to keep up with on the ol' blog!

I thought that for now, as I dust off the cobwebs around here, I'd share a few good things I've come across recently:

+ I've read a bunch of fantastic books while I've been mostly away from the internet for the past month. My favorite was a novel called Midwives, which I'm surprised I never heard of before coming across it at my favorite used bookstore last month. I recently donated a bunch of books, so I had a bit of credit and decided to take it home with me. I could hardly put it down—which felt kind of like a big deal for me, considering I have a much harder time finding fiction I enjoy (as opposed to memoirs or other non-fiction). It is a beautifully crafted story, and had me guessing all the way to the end. I definitely recommend picking it up!

+ I'm totally swooning over Kathleen's handmade felt advent calendar, which she shares over at Kapachino. It is absolutely gorgeous, and something her kids will definitely treasure. (I still dream of finding the one from my childhood for less than $60 on eBay, but odds are I'll just have to make my own someday.)

+ This crocheted alphabet is pretty much the cutest thing ever. If I have time, I'd love to complete a set for Eisley's Christmas stocking!

+ I recently made this one-pot garlic parmesan pasta from Damn Delicious, and holy moses it was amazing. It's so simple and inexpensive, and is something you need to make immediately. You can thank me later.

Also! If you're finishing up Christmas shopping (like me), be sure to use "BOOKDEAL25" to snag 25% off one book from Amazon (I picked up this one for Eisley!). The code is good until just before midnight on December 14th.

And how have you been? I hope all is well with you and yours!

Affiliate links included in this post; view my disclosure policy here.

November 12, 2014

some pretty, pretty (nearly free!) Christmas cards...

pretty, pretty (almost free!) Christmas cards |
Last week, I mentioned the Tiny Prints deal where you could snag 10 free cards and pay only shipping and handling. I couldn't wait to take advantage of it, mostly because I just wanted to see what our family photos looked like in card-form! They arrived super-fast and I was so excited by how they turned out that I simply had to share. The grand total for these cards was $5.99 (shipping). Not too bad for what would have cost me more than $31 full-price!

If you want to order your own, remember that today (November 12th) is the last day you can use this specific code: 10FREECARDS. (If you miss the cutoff, you can still use TPSAVE25FS to get 25% off and free shipping. I tried combining these two codes, but no dice!) All you have to do is design and order your own cards, add 10 to your cart, and use the code 10FREECARDS to get the cards for free. These cards are usually so expensive I could never justify buying even 10 at full price (especially with shipping!), so I'm recommending this deal as a lady who is always a little too excited about figuring out how to get something for almost-free.

pretty, pretty (almost free!) Christmas cards |
The style I chose is called Playful Paint—but it took me a while to settle on one because there are so many gorgeous ones. Darn you, Tiny Prints, and your beautifully designed, expensive cards! Were I rich I would buy 50 of you!

pretty, pretty (almost free!) Christmas cards |
I couldn't figure out how to add text to the back of the card (which would have normally been a deal-breaker for me, considering I love including a blurb on our past year). I decided that for these cards, I'll just print out what I want to write on paper, then attach it to the back of the card with washi tape.

pretty, pretty (almost free!) Christmas cards |
Although I will most likely buy the rest of my cards elsewhere (unless another can't-miss deal comes by way), I'm glad to have a handful of these beautiful cards to send out to some of our friends and family (the ones who don't read this blog, that is!). Sending out Christmas cards is one of my favorite things ever. If I could get a job stuffing, stamping and addressing envelopes for a living, I'd totally do that. (Hire me?)

Tiny Prints 10 Free Holiday Cards
Affiliate links included in this post; view my disclosure policy here.